Wednesday, February 20, 2019

National Love Your Pet Day

Today is the day set aside for pet lovers everywhere to observe National Love Your Pet Day.

Truffle and Mom Paula sharing a hug

We are firm believers in showing love to your pets and all animals everyday of the year! However, we agree that having a special day set aside to let everyone know of the joys of being chosen by a pet can bring awareness to the benefits of having a pet and to focus on the special relationship you have with your pets.

Did you know that most households in the United States have at least one pet?  According to Psychology Today (May 14, 2013), there are more cats can dogs in the U.S.(86 million owned cats compared to 78 million owned dogs). Interestingly, 39% of all American households own a dog compared to 33% with cats. Statistics show that approximately 52% of cat owners have more than one cat and 40% of dog owners have more than one dog. Dogs and cats aren't the only pets in a home - many people prefer the companionship of birds, reptiles, fish, or rats. 

Benefits of Living with Pets

Brulee allowing Mom Paula to hug her for a few seconds

Sarah Grace McCandless (Animal Planet, 2017) identified the top five health benefits of living with pets.
AllergiesUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison pediatrician James E. Gern has conducted a number of studies that demonstrate having a pet in the home can actually lower a child's likelihood of developing related allergies by as much as 33 percent. His research shows that children exposed early on to animals tend to develop stronger immune systems overall.
Socialization Skills One of the fringe benefits of taking on the responsibility of pet ownership is that animals can be an instant icebreaker, whether they're with you or you're just using them as a topic of conversation. How many times have you stopped an spoken to a stranger because they had a cat/dog with them?
Heart Benefits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have both conducted heart-related studies on people who have pets. The findings showed that pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels -- all of which can ultimately minimize their risk for having a heart attack down the road. 
Exercise. Dogs can act as the perfect personal trainer, if only because most of them need to be walked several times a day. According to studies such as those conducted by the Wellness Institute at Northwest Memorial Hospital, as long as you're the one holding the leash, you'll reap the rewards, which can include losing -- or at least maintaining -- weight. Research conducted by the National Institute of Health also supports this claim -- including one study of more than 2,000 adults, which found that dog owners responsible for walking their pups are less likely to be obese than dog owners who pass the duty off to someone else or those who don't own dogs at all. More and more of our cat loving friends are walking their cats either in the city or on trails. 
Depression. Pets are a great way to beat the blues. Pets tend to offer unconditional love, but they may also give their caregivers a sense of purpose, which can be crucial for those feeling down in the dumps. Pets also combat feelings of loneliness by providing companionship, which can boost your overall mood and even bring you feelings of joy and happiness. This is particularly apparent among groups -- including the sick and elderly -- who may be on the receiving end of Animal-assisted Therapy (AAT) or Pet-facilitated Therapy (PFT). Many hospitals and nursing homes use these types of programs on a regular basis. I know from personal experience with depression how having the girls near me and having the responsibility of taking care of them can help me get through the rough times.

The research is mixed about positive health benefits of living with pets. Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood. The National Institute of Health has partnered with Mars Corporation’s WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition to research health benefits. 


How We Celebrate the Love

Since I retired almost two years ago, I spend a lot more time at home. I believe the girls have grown accustomed to me being around more. They used to run to the door when I'd come home from work, but now, they are usually resting in one of the bedrooms when I enter our home. Even though the quantity of time has increased, it's so important to remember the quality of the time we spend together. The girls love to sleep beside me when I'm in the bed, so if I decide to take a nap (which is frequently the older I get), I will usually go to the bed so they can join me. This is the only place Brulee will snuggle with me, so I enjoy our quality time together, even if it's only for a few minutes. The girls love their treats, so I try to give them high-protein treats with limited ingredients. They are especially fond of freeze-dried chicken and salmon. 

Truffle and Brulee are naturally beautiful Persian cats, but in order to keep their coats clean and mat-free, they are combed/brushed daily. Brulee's eyes drain a lot, so she needs special care in removing eye stains. 

It's also important to show your love by taking your cats (pets) to the vet for wellness checkups and when they are ill. I may overreact when one of them are sick, but they are part of my family and I don't want them to suffer.

I also showed my love today by allowing a photo of me with the girls, sans makeup. We Southern ladies don't usually leave the house without makeup, but I wanted the love between my girls and me to show through.

How did you show your cat (pet) love today?

14 comments:

  1. I got a good head rub session, extra treats, and some playtime!

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  2. We're like you, we celebrate Love Your Pet Day every day ! Purrs

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  3. mom says Chanel really is an icebreaker - not many people see a cat out and about and love to come up and talk

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  4. Good information - what a wonderful post today! Brulee, you are beautiful as always and you are so good to make your sweet mom Paula so happy with that snuggle.

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  5. You girls are so loved! We're lucky to live with our mom who just dotes over us every day. Great post!

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  6. We know you sweet girls feel the love each and every day!

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  7. Happy Love Your Pet Day!! I hope y'all get lots of snuggles and cuddles.

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  8. We got extra treats, more food, more toy-toss time, TBT washed all our foldy-napping towels, and extra laptime.

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  9. Very very true about allergies. I freak out when someone tells me they got rid of their cat because their child was 'allergic.' Crap. I was diagnosed as extremely allergic to cats when I was young and the doctor told my mother to 'get rid' of the cat. (I never liked that guy). Fortunately, she didn't. I lived with the same cat from the time I was 5 until I was 22. She saved my life more than once. What am I allergic to today? Nothing. ... well, except stupidity.

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  10. I am a pet lover and I agree with you that having a pet is a healthy thing for us humans. They makes us better healthier people in so many ways. I have allergies but I take medication and I am fine. I would do anything for my cats and my dog.

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  11. Love will always win out in my book. No matter the odds, when we love each other things happen–it is the nature of good.
    Have a great day
    Purrs
    ERin

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  12. Those are beautiful photos of you and your girls! The love shines through. I'll have dogs and other pets as long as I can.

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